A MAJOR rail operator has hit out at the council’s scheme to revamp the front of York Station - saying it will “inevitably” have a major impact on staff and passengers.

City of York Council has submitted plans to demolish Queen Street Bridge, alter the station car parks and taxi rank and create a new front for the building.

But LNER, the train company that manages the station, has submitted an objection letter saying it has concerns that the scale of the work will have a “major impact” on day to day activity at the site.

And the letter adds: “The scheme delivers minimal to no benefit to the station or the wider rail network but instead delivers direct benefits for the highway in and around the station.”

A spokesman for LNER said the company is supportive of the scheme but is keen to understand the impact on station users.

The letter says the plans are not detailed enough for the company to decide how the project will affect the heritage of the building.

And it has concerns about work beginning before enough funding has been secured, adding: “We also understand that there remain elements of this planning application which cannot be progressed due to a lack of funding. These unfunded elements are intrinsic to the scheme as they are required to replace the facilities at the station proposed to be removed as part of the funded works.

“Due to the nature of the above concerns and the uncertainty they create it is considered the potential reduction in the public facility may give grounds for objection.”

The York Station frontage plan is part of the wider York Central scheme and the council says the work will take place as a series of separate projects, partly due to funding.

James Gilchrist, assistant director for transport at the council, said: “The plans for the station would represent a massive improvement for its 12 million annual visitors, and a stunning gateway to the city which respects and reveals our railway heritage and bar walls.

“It is vital that we provide a safer, clearer arrival experience for all modes of transport, and prepare the station for an anticipated tripling of visitors over the next 20 years.

“The plans have been developed through extensive engagement with the public and our partners including Network Rail and LNER, so we’re already aware of the issues raised.

“We will continue to work with LNER to address their concerns, and appreciate this scheme has to have their approval before construction can begin.

“We are confident that together we can resolve these issues so that all the station’s users – including LNER – can realise the benefits of this badly-needed investment.”

The first phase of the scheme could get underway as soon as the autumn.

And funding has already been approved from West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the council for work to start on the highway aspects - including the taxi rank and short stay car park - and the public realm projects.

This would involve turning Tea Room Square into a pedestrian space and opening up routes through the historic archways in the city walls.